Customers don?t forget ? But they will forgive
The hospitality industry sells ?experiences? rather than ?products.?? You may rent a hotel?room?for a night, but the?experience?you have at the hotel is the takeaway.? Was the breakfast good, the room quiet, and the bed comfortable?? How did the staff greet you and respond to requests?? Did they anticipate your needs or offer surly or grudging service?
These days, everyone really?is?a critic and eager to share their story.? And the many social media outlets means they can share and share and share ? quickly too.? It?s almost impossible for a business to get ahead of a compelling ?bad news? story.
Mistakes happen; it?s how a business and its employees respond to the problem that makes all the difference.
Bad Press Can Hurt An Entire Industry
Ferguson?s Precept?says: ?A crisis is when you can?t say??let?s just forget the whole thing.??
By any measure, Carnival Cruise Lines had a terrible?beginning to 2013?when several ships experienced problems.? Most famously, the ordeal of the Triumph cruise ship made worldwide headlines after an engine fire stranded passengers at sea for days. Passengers?described dreadful conditions?on the ship via Twitter and social media.? The world was riveted ? and the?entire cruise industry suffered:
The survey of 2,230 U.S. adults, which took place between Feb. 19 and 21, found a 17% drop in a measurement of America?s trust in Carnival Cruise Lines following the much-publicized incident. Measurements of trust in rival lines including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Holland America also dropped, though not as sharply.
For Carnival though, there was one bright spot: many passengers complimented the ship?s crew and thanked the employees for their helpfulness and professionalism during the crisis.
This is quite the contrast to the behavior of the Costa Concordia?s captain in 2012, who abandoned the ship (leaving passengers aboard) after it capsized and then?sued the cruise line?for wrongful termination.
Employees Are Brand Ambassadors
Businesses are run by humans, so companies will inevitably make mistakes ? and when you?re selling a service or ?experience,? a single mistake can unalterably color the customer?s perception of the whole transaction.? What matters most is how your employees handle what comes?after?a mistake is made.? Nothing enrages a customer more than a business that can?t quickly and cheerfully fix a problem.
Click here to read more.